Hydranautics to supply RO membrane to world's biggest seawater desalination plant in Israel

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OSAKA, Japan, Dec. 22, 2010 -- Japan's leading diversified materials manufacturer Nitto Denko Corporation (TOKYO:6988) and its U.S. water treatment technology subsidiary Hydranautics (collectively "Nitto Denko Group") have been contracted to supply the company's newly-developed, industry's largest-class 16-inch SWC-1640 and ESPAB-1640 elements to the world's biggest (*) seawater desalination plant, to be constructed near the coastal city of Ashkelon, Sorek, Israel.

The facility, Israel's fourth grand-scale desalination plant-to-be, will supply the country's greatest 411,000 m³/day capacity of water in 2013.

The contract was awarded by the design and construction contractor for the plant, Sorek Desalination Ltd.

(*) The plant is the world's biggest as a seawater desalination plant with 16-inch elements installed.

Special Features of 16-inch Membrane Element
With water shortages turning increasingly serious around the world, the water treatment market is showing significant growth. Given such a trend, water treatment plant capacity has been increasing in scale in recent years. The development of a 16-inch (40cm) Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane element makes it possible for such large-scale facilities to significantly reduce their initial investment cost as well as operating costs.

Compared to the industry's conventional 8-inch element, the effective membrane area (the membrane area in an element through which raw water can be filtered) and water production capacity per element are increased fourfold. As a result, it allows a water treatment plant to reduce its initial investment cost by some 10%, as well as the life cycle cost by approximately $61 million over two decades.

Special Features of SWC5-1640
Normally five to seven Megapascal (MPa) pressure must be applied to membrane modules for desalinating seawater, a process requiring an abundance of electricity. As SWC5-1640 can execute desalination with lower pressure applied than before, it consumes less electricity.

In general, water flux and rejection are in a mutually exclusive relationship. But being an energy-saving type, SWC5-1640 achieves high water flux without sacrificing rejection much, and hence it contributes to more economical seawater desalination.

Special Features of ESPAB-1640
Seawater typically contains four to five milligrams of boron per liter. It is said that regular intake of boron may affect human body adversely, and the World Health Organization (WHO) therefore states that the concentration of boron in drinking water must be less than 0.5 milligrams per liter.

ESPAB-1640 minimizes boron concentration to a level which doesn't affect the human body, by secondarily treating product water produced by SWC5-1640.

Water Availability Situation in Israel
With more than half of the country's land consisting of desert, water shortages in urban areas of Israel however worsening due the pollution and drought. Groundwater is drying up and causing saltwater intrusion. The Israeli government is promoting seawater desalination as a countermeasure to combat such problems, and it plans to meet a major portion of the country's water supply needs by utilizing seawater desalination.

Outline and Future Direction of Nitto Denko's Water Treatment Business
Leveraging some of the most cutting-edge membrane fabrication technology in the world today, Nitto Denko Group has an enviable history of success in ultra-pure water creation and seawater desalination, as well as in the wastewater treatment fields. The group boasts equal number one share together with Dow Chemical Company in the world market for RO membrane elements for producing industrial and public-use ultra-pure water.

The Group plans to further boost its capability in pre-treatment technology of not only RO membrane specialties, but also microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes as well as microbioreactor processes in growth domains such as seawater desalination and wastewater reclamation. It also hopes to raise the value offering to customers in the water treatment business by further implementing membrane maintenance and repair service businesses.

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